Discovery of the day: Going granular
Made some granola the other day; the first step to making granola bars to replace the ones I buy my son from time to time. I used Mark Bittman's recipe/guidelines, given here. I used rolled oats, ground flaxseeds, pecans, walnuts, almonds, raisins, dried cherries, apricots, and honey. I also used a combo of unsweetened and sweetened coconut since I had both on hand. It came out well. Next time I might look for a rolled seven-grain cereal or something to add to the oats, just for fun.
Then I tried gluing some of the granola together into no-bake bars using the recipe given here and that was, uh, not a total win. I added some puffed brown rice cereal for some of the granola, and I used peanut butter instead of the brown sugar. The puffed rice worked great, but even omitting the brown sugar, they were so sweet that my son wouldn't eat them. If they're too sweet for a nine year old, that's pretty damned sweet! Good thing I only made half a batch.
I'm betting the honey could be cut back some, but honey is so sweet to begin with -- there has to be something else I could use of a similar viscosity that wouldn't be quite so cloying. I finally determined that corn syrup or brown rice syrup might be a good choice. I have good old Karo syrup at home, but that certainly doesn't sound very sexy, so today I paid over $6 for a jar of brown rice syrup.
All I can say is it had better taste absolutely fantastic.
So next time I'll use maybe 1/2 cup brown rice syrup (3/4 if I have to), 1/2 cup peanut butter, maybe a tablespoon (or two) of oil, 2 cups granola and 1 cup of puffed brown rice cereal.